EVERYBODY, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY and NOBODY – Anti-Dog Legislation Is Everybody's Problem.
BY Amy Peterson. Photo Art by Daniel Cartier
Most people have seen the story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.
This is the state of the legislative effort in the dog fancy. While the animal rights front functions as a well-muscled (and wealthy) behemoth, the dog fancy trots around in blissful ignorance, or perhaps ambivalence. We sachet off to dog shows, plan our next litter, bash the current top-winning dog, and lament that we’re not interested in politics. Meanwhile, the likes of HSUS and the ASPCA hum like a well-oiled machine, carefully planning their next strategy, researching politicians who might be easy to sway, and following through as though their lives depended on it. They comment to newspapers and blogs. They push their agenda with the strength of a gorilla.
“It doesn’t affect me,” we mumble to ourselves. “I only have xx number of dogs. That law affects Somebody Else.” Or, “that’s two counties over from me, so I don’t care, it affects Somebody Else.”
But Somebody Else is part of our fancy, our hobby, or sport. Maybe not our breed, but other breeds make up the whole persona of the dog fancy. Perhaps we don’t have five intact females, but chances are, Somebody Else probably does. (Or, in the case of the State of Iowa, four intact dogs of either sex combined.) Maybe we don’t ship puppies, but Somebody Else probably does. Maybe it doesn’t matter to me if my home is subjected to unannounced inspections, but it might matter to Somebody Else.
With every local, state, or federal victory by the Animal Rights Activists, our rights to own and breed dogs are chipped away – sometimes by little tiny flecks and sometimes by boulders – but chipped away nonetheless. With every breath we use to criticize another club member, breeder, judge, or competitor, we further chip away at our rights, simply by allowing ourselves to be divided. Our fancy suffers huge divisions amongst breeders, exhibitors, judges, and competitors – from judging results to whelping puppies to what we feed our dogs, we are divided, and the Animal Rights activists capitalize on that. Where we are passive, they are aggressive. Where we care to not be involved, they have an almost cult-like involvement. AKC alone tracked over 1300 legislative measures in 2013. Somebody is pushing a big agenda.
Whether we want to be involved in politics, it is our duty to do so if we wish to preserve our right to breed and own dogs. Our “Somebody Else” attitude will be our undoing! Just think about it – HSUS claims to have 11 million members and supporters. While that may seem overwhelming, it would be wise if we would realize that IF they do indeed have 11 million members, that means that there are 305 million people in the United States who are NOT supporters of the HSUS agenda. Surely, with numbers like that, the dog fancy can pull itself together to act cohesively.
A case in point is the recent USDA/APHIS rulings. Many in the fancy have taken an “it’s not me” or “it’s unenforceable” stance. While these may be true, we must remember that the ruling will be complaint-driven, and that the Animal Rights groups have offered what amounts to a “bounty” on breeders – both HSUS and ASPCA offer $5,000 rewards for “tips” leading to the conviction of breeders not in compliance.
The dog fancy simply must put aside its differences and start to work together to combat anti-dog legislation. Nitpicking of other breeders, political strife within clubs, and the “not me” mentality must all disappear. Breeders must act with the utmost of responsibility including well-planned litters; judicious selection of puppy homes; fair and ethical contracts; continuous follow-up on puppies that we have produced; and welcoming newcomers to our sport. We must establish ourselves not only as responsible breeders and owners, but also as the dog “experts” to which our legislators should turn for advice.
If you receive an alert – act on it! Don’t assume that “Somebody Else” or “Everybody Else” will do it. Anybody can do it, but we need to make sure that Everybody does it; otherwise, Nobody will do it!